The Good SisterThe Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
Published by St. Martin's Press on April 13, 2021
Pages: 309
View Title on Goodreads
Bantering Books Rating: four-stars

From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern's protector from the time they were small.
Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart's desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn't realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all.

Bantering Books Review

There are two things you need to know before picking up Sally Hepworth’s latest novel, The Good Sister.

First, it’s NOT a thriller. It’s a contemporary domestic drama, with a soft touch of mystery and suspense. If you go into it anticipating edge-of-your-seat excitement, you will be very disappointed.

Second, you will likely love it. Because Hepworth’s story of fraternal twin sisters, Rose and Fern, is wonderful, despite the genre mix-up. It’s instantly engaging, warmly humorous, and immensely enjoyable. And it will introduce you to one of the most memorable characters I have ever encountered.

Fern. She’s a star. A true gem of a personality. Afflicted with sensory processing disorder, she is quite similar to my beloved Eleanor Oliphant in her endearing quirkiness and lack of social graces. And like Eleanor, she is a bit of a loose cannon when it comes to her interactions with others. The funniest, cleverest things come out of her mouth, and you can’t help but want to hug her.

I just wish Hepworth had not tried to push The Good Sister into thriller territory. The story feels predictable because of it, occasionally overdone in characterization, and its emotional impact is significantly cheapened.

And the epilogue – CRINGE! If only it had never been written. It’s a lame, last-ditch attempt by Hepworth to darken and twist the story, and it fails miserably.

Erase, erase, erase. There. The epilogue is gone from my mind.

(Epilogue? What epilogue?)

Almost certainly, The Good Sister will be on my list of 2021 favorites. It is one that should not be missed.

Say hi to Fern for me when you read it.

My sincerest appreciation to Sally Hepworth, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy. All opinions included herein are my own.